LeanBox interviews Morgan Mosher about the new T3 Innovation Studio in Boston
Morgan Mosher is the Director of Brand and Culture for T3 Advisors, a fine-tuned real estate workplace company that helps organizations think more strategically about their space, from real estate to the design of the office. She’s with us today to talk about creating a high-performance workspace with the T3 Innovation Studio. She has some great tips any size company can implement.
What’s the T3 Advisors elevator pitch?
We help build great companies that are changing the world. We do this by providing powerful real estate strategies and helping develop awesome workplaces.
What is the T3 Innovation Studio?
We have a T3 Innovation Studio in both Boston and Palo Alto. It serves as our office space for T3 employees, but also as a client resource rather than static, inwardly focused office space. We created an experiential lab of the workplace: to help us and clients understand different modalities of work. With our Innovation Studio Resident program, we developed a platform to bring together other innovation economy influencers in a unique way. The resident program allows us to support and help grow the innovation economy ecosystem. It also connects the T3 team in a more physical way to others making us better at what we do. We collaborate with not only with colleagues but also with our Residents. We’re not a traditional co-working space, but more of a gathering place: a hub for the tech and life science community.
How does the T3 Innovation Studio work as far as being a test ground for the workplace innovations that you then utilize in client spaces?
Using cutting edge furniture, lighting, technology, etc., we can help visitors envision the possibilities of what can be as opposed to what was.
One of the best parts of the studio is that it’s a living, breathing place. Often, when companies do a build-out they think their office is done when the build-out is complete. We have found that every so often, you need to make changes, even something as small as scent marketing.
For example, at the T3 Innovation Studio, we noticed that one area wasn’t being used often, so we got rid of the furniture in that area, brought in custom tables and more outlets (critical!) and found that created a new and more appealing work environment. When we go talk to our clients about what works and what doesn’t, we speak from experience.
The same goes for technology. We do a lot of testing for local companies. One of the coolest things we are testing is a replacement for reception area. We wanted something more welcoming than an empty desk and we didn’t want to have visitors be confused, so we are testing a product called Enter, and it’s revolutionized the client experience.
When we offer advice to our clients, it’s tried and true thanks to the work we are doing in the T3 Innovation Studio, from furniture to technology to other concepts.
What are some of the most unique trends in office design that you’re putting into both client spaces and the Innovation Studio?
I think we are seeing a huge increase in non-tech companies who are interested in the “workplace of the future.” We’re seeing finance companies, for example, who are moving towards more traditionally tech office environments.
We are also discovering that open space may not work for everyone. The open spaces that were so big five or seven years ago are not really effective in every office setting. There is a huge trend around creating different environments within the office, little work bubbles where you can work effectively depending on your task. You don’t sit in the same spot for the whole day because you’re not doing the same activities all day.
You may have some areas that are more collaborative, and some that are quieter for heads-down work. If you need to make a call, you may go to a phone or conference room. Creative tasks might be in a softer area with air desks so you’re more comfortable but also able to work.
What’s important is ensuring that the environment is not hindering your work.
What’s your personal favorite aspect of the T3 Innovation Studio?
I think lighting is so important; changing it up really reinvigorates my workflow. My favorite light here is the first of its kind 3M LED light. They donated it to our office. For events, I’ll dim it and when we’re up and pumped it’s turned up all the way.
And speaking of that—electricity itself is so important! We have areas where we’ve wondered why no one is using them, and when I check them out I realize there aren’t any outlets so people have to leave when they need power. Now, we ensure there’s an outlet every 6 to 12 inches and it can make a huge difference.
A major focus for T3 Advisors is ensure people are working in a productive, healthy space for a high-performance workplace. What are some key things that any company should keep in mind when selecting and designing a space with that goal?
Never be married to an idea. Your office isn’t done the day you move in because it’s always changing, your needs and your products are always changing. I see that all the time—when an office starts to feel dated you’ll see a lot of people start working from home because the office is no longer a place they want to hang out.
Some ways to keep people engaged in the office space go beyond design. Events like fitness boot camps on specific days of the week or getting lunches delivered – do those things to keep your employees in the office and to motivate them to hang out there.
Remember not to overdo it. If it feels like you’re trying too hard, or if you wouldn’t want to do it, your employees probably don’t either. Don’t try too hard to impress the culture on employees – it can feel a little too much. You need to edit your ideas, and you’ll find you get better employee engagement.
Talk about high-performance workplaces in terms of the bottom line for the employer. What does it mean to invest in this in terms of what the ROI will be for the talent?
The biggest ROI on stuff like this is keeping people in the office, because innovation happens when you collaborate and bump into people, talking with people who you don’t normally work or talk with. That’s when good ideas happen, and those don’t occur as much if everyone’s working from home.
A good example of this is a new product line we have called T3 InSite. Last summer, we started doing catered lunch on Fridays, which you wouldn’t think would be that big a deal. But Friday is a big work from home day, and we found if we did a lunch we’d see 80 to 90% of the staff in the office all day on a Friday. A whole new product line came out of departments sitting down over lunch and recognizing a need and solution that they wouldn’t have otherwise identified if they didn’t have that interaction.
What does the T3 Innovation Studio offer to outside companies and how can people reading this post become a part of that?
We love events and love getting people in here and creating an environment for people to meet. You can check out more information about the T3 Innovation Studio here, and if you have an idea for an event you can contact me directly at email@example.com.